May 28, 2023

The Ark Season 1 finale featured a ton to unpack and creators Dean Devlin and Jonathan Glassner are pretty satisfied with how the freshman season of the show went on SYFY. Rightfully so, as the sci-fi series reached 6.5 million viewers across all platforms. Shortly before the freshman season finale, SYFY announced The Ark was officially renewed for another run. ComingSoon sat down with Devlin and Glassner to discuss the events of The Ark, what to expect from the upcoming season and more. The show stars Christie Burke, Reece Ritchie, Richard Fleeshman, Stacey Michelle Read, Ryan Adams, Pavle Jerinić, Shalini Peiris, Christina Wolfe, and Tiana Upcheva.

The Ark takes place 100 years in the future when planetary colonization missions have begun as a necessity to help secure the survival of the human race. The first of these missions on a spacecraft known as Ark One encounters a catastrophic event causing massive destruction and loss of life. With more than a year left to go before reaching their target planet, a lack of life-sustaining supplies and loss of leadership, the remaining crew must become the best versions of themselves to stay on course and survive.”

Tudor Leonte: We promised to see each other after The Ark Season 1 finale, and here we are. Are you happy with the results?

Jonathan Glassner: Oh, yeah. I think so. I mean, it’s up to the audience what they think, but I’m happy with it.

Dean Devlin: We had a great time making it, and it’s been so much fun watching the community grow week after week, and to get 6.5 million people watching a show in today’s world is no small feat. So yeah, we’re very grateful.

What do you think contributed to the success of The Ark Season 1, which, as you just mentioned, reached 6.5 million viewers?

Devlin: I think it’s because this show really is a love letter to a type of science fiction show that’s hard to see nowadays. I think there was a certain appetite in the world for an old-fashioned space opera. We tend now to do these very dark, very edgy, slow, mysterious rollouts of shows, and they’re terrific, but sometimes you want some more items on the menu and I think we came up with the one that people were looking for.

Jonathan, how do you plan to maintain that momentum going forward into future seasons?

Glassner: Very carefully and strategically, already got some really fun ideas and we’re charging ahead.

In the final seconds of Season 1, we see a giant planet full of liquid methane exploding. Ark 1 has to flee, of course. Will they ever find some peace?

Glassner: Eventually, they will find some peace. I don’t know how long that peace will last, but they will find some peace. In Season 20. Yeah, they’ll find peace at the end of Season 20.

Is Evelyn Maddox truly changed?

Glassner: You’ll have to watch and see.

Devlin: The only thing that you can expect on The Ark is the unexpected.

That’s fair enough, considering all the things we saw this season. I was curious, The Ark has already been renowned for another season, but have you shot an alternate ending, just in case?

Glassner: Well, in the case of this show, we felt fairly confident that we would get another season, but we still made a point of ending it on a positive note. It ends with hope. If we had not been picked up, thankfully we were, but if we had not, the audience can sort of fill in the blanks that everybody would climb on board Ark 15 and be okay. It ends with a cliffhanger that can also be a conclusion.

Earlier this year, I was in Berlin and saw that the Berlin Film Festival screened a few episodes. How much do you think it impacted the popularity of this show, and how big of a deal was it for you to be at the Berlinale?

Devlin: Traditionally, the Berlin Film Festival has been only feature films, and only in the last few years did they start to include television. This was the first time they actually were screening television. They only selected, I think, eight shows, and we were one of the first shows selected. I think that was a great kind of endorsement of the show and kind of put the word out that this show is worth watching. As a small independent company, Electric Entertainment, our company, it really helped us sell the show all around the world. Now, we’re starting to open everywhere. We just opened in Spain, we’re gonna be opening in England soon, and it’s just been tremendous to see the world embrace the characters of The Ark.

How was it to work with Serbian directors?

Glassner: We, fortunately, found some very good ones, and so it was not all that different than working with American directors. I think it was probably a little harder for the actors just because of the language difference, but all our directors spoke perfect English. It’s just a matter of colloquialisms and things like that aren’t quite the same, you know, little touches that I think are a little challenging, but it worked out great.

Devlin: Jonathan and I had done another series in Serbia called The Outpost, and we got to know some of these directors on that show. We became quite fond of their work. The chance to bring them back on this show, we jumped on it.

Are any of the Season 1 directors coming back for Season 2?

Glassner: Sure. Yeah.

Devlin: Hopefully.

Will production still go down in Serbia?

Glassner: Yes.

Devlin: Absolutely.

So you find yourself pretty comfortable there, and you are happy with the results, right?

Glassner: Yeah, they’re great. It’s a great crew. Everybody there works their butts off, and they just have great attitudes and are talented and skilled at what they do. There’s absolutely no reason to leave. We’re happy there.

The actors looked pretty happy, too. I saw some of their pictures on Instagram before the junket before the series premiered. I’m pretty sure they will be thrilled to go back there. Speaking of the actors, Jonathan, how was it for you to pen the story of Kelly Fowler, a character initially introduced as a mysterious lone survivor from Ark Three?

Glassner: I assume you’re asking because she was played by my daughter, but when we developed the character, it was not intended to be for her necessarily. We started developing her and as we settled on her age and her type, I started to realize that what we were describing was my daughter. We gave her a chance to audition for it, and the network approved her, and off she went to Belgrade. I think she’s done a good job. I’m proud of her. I’m biased, but I’m proud of her.

Devlin: You should be. She’s terrific.

Yeah. The surprise that she was Evelyn Maddox’s daughter was quite interesting.

Glassner: At first, there were three characters that were found on that ship, and she was just one of them. We realized that they were kind of redundant to each other, and ended up killing one, and then we ended up getting rid of him and killing a different one. This is in the story in the writer’s room. At one point, the other character was her daughter. Or her son, I think it was. We ended up just combining them onto one character. That’s where it came from.

The Ark Season 1 featured several complex themes, including survival, hope, and humanity’s relationship with the environment. What do you think viewers will take away from the show in terms of these larger ideas?

Devlin: The number one concept that was important to Jonathan and I was this idea of a hopeful view of humanity, that despite our differences and our flaws, ultimately we rise to the occasion when it really matters. That’s really at the heart and soul of the show. I hope that’s what people take away the most. As far as the other issues, we write the things that we care about. I hope that in this context, it’s something that can be thought about and discussed, and looked at. Very often, there are issues that you can’t talk about at the dinner table with your family today. Sometimes, in a science fiction show, because it’s out of the specific and into the theoretical, suddenly discussion can happen again. Our hope is some of these issues are things that can be brought back to the dinner table.

What should fans expect from The Ark in Season 2?

Glassner: A lot of surprises. Hopefully, a lot of fun. It will never go where you think it’s going.

When I asked you in our previous interview, you told me that one of the biggest challenges was transforming your ideas, what you penned down, into the actual show, and, of course, dealing with the budget. Will you have perhaps a bigger budget for Season 2? Do you have more challenging ideas for the upcoming sophomore season?

Devlin: The unfortunate thing about television is once you’ve made your deals, those are your deals, and you don’t get more money in success, but you also don’t get less money in failure. [Laughs]. I guess, there’s that. We won’t have much more money to do the show, but I think we’ve also learned a lot of tricks and we’ve learned things that I think will help us improve the scope of the show and allow us to put more on the screen. It’s a wonderful thing doing a TV series because in every episode you learn a little bit more on efficiencies and what effects you can and can’t do, and then you plan it better.

We’re in the planning stages now of Season 2, and I gotta tell you, every day I walk out of my conversations with Jonathan thrilled and excited about what we’re gonna try and do this year, and it’s gonna be more fun, more exciting, wilder. We try to pack more in an hour than most shows do in a season. We’re not gonna let up on that.

When will production begin for Season 2, or has it already started?

Glassner: Well, we’ve started writing, and the production will start like probably in June as we’re planning now. They’re gonna start rebuilding the sets and everything soon.

I don’t want to put a temporal limit, but when you come up with this idea, how many seasons have you foreseen for this show?

Devlin: In Season 1, it was really just trying to figure out what that first season is, and do we have a window into a second season, but this year we actually started looking at this in a much longer viewpoint. Jonathan and I are very excited about where the show can go and how long we can keep it going. We are moving in a direction now to kind of really set up a larger mythology.

Glassner: That’s not what I thought you were gonna say, Dean. [Laughs]

Do you have a special message for the viewers and for the fans of The Ark Season 1?

Devlin: My only message is, “Thank you.” Thank you for watching the show. Thank you for telling your friends about the show. Thanks for getting involved in the community posting up on social media, and watching the after-show. I’ve never seen a community grow so quickly and be so passionate and it means the world to all of us who make the show.

Glassner: I couldn’t say it better.

ComingSoon thanks Dean Devlin and Jonathan Glassner for taking the time to discuss The Ark Season 1 finale.

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